A rare, comedic play about the exploration of girl geek culture, yes girl, will be coming to life through the talent and expertise of Southeastern Louisiana University students and faculty. She Kills Monsters, written by Qui Nguyen, is an amusing telling of the world of fantasy role-playing games, from a female perspective.
The play tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly who was an avid participant of Dungeon and Dragons. The line between fantasy and reality quickly blurs as the main character battles demons as she rediscovers her little sister Tilly.
Southeastern’s theatre department will perform She Kills Monsters this year at the Vonnie Borden Theatre. She Kills Monsters is directed by Southeastern theatre professor Jim Winters. Gabrielle Nixon, who plays Tilly one of the main characters, said, “To me, this play is about embracing who you truly are and loving people who are different than you. Everyone is a little weird, but that is empowering. Your quirks are your superpowers. That’s something that this show has truly helped me to see.”
Backstage another group of people are working hard to bring this story to life and have it ready for opening night. Stage manager for the production, Madison Paulus began her part for She Kills Monsters in early May where she was a liaison with the director and the design team for the show. “This play is a way to break away from our daily lives and live in Tilly’s world of Dungeon and Dragons. The people in this production have consistently amazed me and I am incredibly grateful for their dedication to telling this story,” said Paulus.
To put together a show of this magnitude with twist, turns and an abundance of different types of characters a show needs a crew member who can handle the task of keeping parts, pieces and actors where they need to be at all times. Alexis Durante the assistant director for She Kills Monsters spent a lot of time working one on one with both the actors and the director and learning how to direct and teach others. Durante, a first-time assistant director, felt that learning her way around and learning how to direct actors was an exciting challenge and the people she was able to work with made it all worthwhile.
She Kills Monsters is a hardcore, adventurous play and that is shown through the extensive combat put into this production. The most challenging part of production for Nixon was training for combat and learning how to sword fight. They would train for multiple hours every night to make sure their combat scenes looked as believable as possible. For Paulus, the hardest part of this production has been keeping up with all of the parts, pieces and concepts which are constantly growing. There are pieces that fly in, pop out, and almost all of them are larger than my car and keeping track of what is staying and what is changing has been a learning experience.
A favorite aspect among the cast and crew for the show has been the intricate fight and combat scene that have been created to show the main character fighting the monsters from the Dungeon and Dragons game her sister had created. Durante said, “I am most excited to see the amazing fight scenes. The battle choreography is so well done and I can’t wait to see it come to fruition.” There are more monsters cast in this production than regular everyday people and because of that the cast has worked hard to bring to life believable and safe fight scenes and characters. “I am most excited to see the cheerleader battle. The combat process is new to me, but it has been amazing to watch and learn. I think it’s really going to surprise the audience,” said Paulus.
Family, friends and students alike who decide to witness She Kills Monsters unfold on the Vonnie Borden stage should be ready for a remarkable showing of an incredible play. “This show has everything,” said Durante, “—fantasy, comedy, love, sacrifice, and strength. This is a beautiful coming of age story that is guaranteed to make you laugh, cry, and gasp while being on the edge of your seat. She Kills Monsters explores all the realms of possibility in life. In this show, the characters can be anything they want. It’s incredibly empowering.”
She Kills Monsters will be performed starting from November 7th through November 10th. When asked why people should come out to see She Kills Monsters Paulus said that this play is a great opportunity for people to break away and enjoy themselves and have as much fun as we have had preparing for She Kills Monsters. Nixon said, “There are so many exciting aspects of this show. I mean, who doesn’t want to watch sword fights and magical adventures? Everyone in this cast and crew has worked extremely hard on this production, and we can’t wait to show everyone.” The cast and crew have worked tirelessly for months preparing to unveil She Kills Monsters to the public so be sure to grab your ticket for the show and strap in for a night of dangerous and heartfelt fun.